Saturday, August 29, 2009

Woman banned from Conroe bingo hall

05:43 PM CDT on Friday, August 7, 2009

By Jeff McShan / 11 News

CONROE, Texas – A Huntsville woman says she was banned from a bingo hall in Conroe after she said she noticed something fishy and started asking questions.

Huntsville woman banned from playing bingo
Veronica Smith received a letter that consisted of only one sentence: “'You are no longer eligible to play bingo in this hall or be on the premises per Commander Kenny' -- whatever his last name is,” Smith said, reading the letter aloud.

The letter was from Commander Kenny Shelsteder, who runs the VFW Post 4709 in Conroe.

The VFW Post is where bingo is played Tuesday, Thursday and twice on Friday.

“I love bingo. I have been playing for over 30 years,” said Smith.

Now Smith isn't even allowed in the parking lot of the Conroe bingo hall. In fact, while she was doing the interview with 11 News across the street from the bingo hall, the VFW Post called the police.

“I feel terrible. It makes me mad. It makes me real mad because they have a lot of my money,” said Smith.

Smith says she was kicked out of the bingo hall after she called the Bingo Commission and filed a complaint. She told them the VFW Post was cheating.

One of her allegations is that bingo hall employees get to play and then mysteriously win a lot of money.

“On the pull tabs one night, she (an employee) won seven times. That is just unreal,” Smith said.

11 New has confirmed that the bingo hall is under investigation by the state. We also found two other patrons who believe cheating is taking place there.

But Commander Shelsteder says that's not happening and claims Smith was banned not because she filed a complaint, but for other reasons.

“She can’t keep her mouth shut. People around her can't play their bingo right. She accuses all my workers of stealing, lying and cheating,” Commander Kenny Shelsteder said.

“He's lying. He's lying, and anybody will tell you that,” Smith said.

Regardless of who is right in this case, Shelsteder says he can ban anyone from the hall.

In the meantime, Smith has called the Bingo Commission again, hoping they might do something because her life without bingo just isn't the same.
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